IM Germany - Tim Grinsted
Having sworn blind after Ironman Germany, that was it, four years later I was on the start line at Roth. I had had 30 minutes sleep the night before as my hotel's brochure had failed to mention it had a bar that encouraged lock ins for local crooners.
The swim went pretty much according to plan and I exited in 1.31, a minute slower than I hoped. Then began the bike section in rapidly increasing temperatures that rose to 34 degrees. The course is scenic with a few moderate climbs including the famous Solar Berg where you experience the thrill of cheering crowds only just parting in time to make way.
I realised that I was able to name a huge amount of competitors based on the fact so many were overtaking me and our names were on our numbers belts. I finally overtook someone, an 83 year old nun from USA doing her 45th Ironman! On reflection I wish I had't shouted "Eat my dirt Sister", but I was excited at having passed someone.
At about 125km I started to struggle with the heat. I was finding it hard to stick to my nutrition plan as I didn't want to eat. I had a bad hour as I struggled not to be tempted to join an increasing amount of competitors who were waiting at the side of the road to be collected. Children at aid stations were enjoying throwing water over us which helped immensely and we were given watered cola which definitely acted as a pick up. I resolved to finish the bike section before quitting with some respectability.
I had been aiming for 7.15 and was actually 10 minutes slower. I rolled into T2 in a bit of a daze. Before I knew it, I had been dressed by a volunteer and pushed onto the run course. I had injured my calf 2 weeks previously and had serious concerns about running. I planned to run until it gave way before making my excuses and stopping. Amazingly it never did (thanks Val for the sports massage). The kilometres ticked off and the temperature dropped. We were treated to a thunder storm and blessed with a bit of rain.
At 28km I was gagging every time I ate and I knew I was in trouble. I adopted a fast walk, which in truth was not much slower than my run/shuffle. This enabled me to eat and drink easier. I calculated I could finish within the 15 hour cut off if I kept up the pace. I may not have passed many cyclists but I picked off a lot of fellow walkers! As I entered the stadium I of course put on a good turn of speed to impress the crowds and was very pleased to cross the line with 15 minutes to spare.
I had entered this race hoping to duck under 14 hours, and under different conditions, would have been close. However, I have decided for sure (again!) that I am never doing another long distance race. It took too much out of family life and as I type my wife is looking through Dulux colour charts for the entire house.....
In addition to thanking Sharon, I have to mention my coach Scott (@synergiecoaching). Scott works with some top triathletes including the GB para team and his guidance and reassurance got me through. He is a far better coach than I am an athlete. I did feel like I was back at school with some of the excuses I made for missing sessions but we did it!